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SARS or Severe acute respiratory syndrome is a viral respiratory illness caused by a corona virus, called SARS-associated corona virus (SARS-CoV). SARS was first reported in Asia in February 2003.
Over the next few months, the illness spread to more than two dozen countries in North America, South America, Europe, and Asia before the SARS global outbreak of 2003 was contained
What is the cause of SARS?
SARS is caused by a previously unrecognized corona virus, called SARS-associated corona virus (SARS-CoV). It is possible that other infectious agents might have a role in some cases of SARS.
What are the symptoms and signs of SARS?
The clinical criteria for the diagnosis of SARS are:
One or more signs or symptoms of respiratory illness including cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, hypoxia, or radiographic (X-ray) findings of pneumonia or acute respiratory distress syndrome.
Fever (>38Â° C [100.4Â° F])
How is SARS spread?
The primary way that SARS appears to spread is by close person-to-person contact. Most cases of SARS have involved people who cared for or lived with someone with SARS, or people who had direct contact with infectious material (for example, respiratory secretions) from a person with SARS. Potential ways in which SARS can spread include touching the skin of other people or objects that are contaminated with infectious droplets and then touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. This can happen when someone who is sick with SARS coughs or sneezes droplets onto themselves, other people, or nearby surfaces.
It also is possible that SARS may spread more broadly through the air or by other ways that are not now known
How did SARS spread so quickly in Hong Kong and other countries?
The earliest cases of severe atypical pneumonia of unknown etiology were believed to first occur in mid-November 2002 in Guangdong Province of Southern China. On 21 February 2003, an infected medical doctor from Guangdong who checked into room 911 on the 9th floor of the Metropole Hotel in Hong Kong. Another 16 guests staying on the same floor of the hotel were infected too..Â These infections in turn led to the outbreaks of the mysterious infectionÂ in Hong Kong, Toronto,Â Viet Nam, and Singapore. Less than a month later, on 12 March 2003, the World Health Organization (WHO) issued a global alert for this illness and designated it as "severe acute respiratory syndrome" (SARS). Because of the frequent international traveling, SARS spread rapidly and affected over 8,000 people in 29 countries across 5 continents within weeks. At the end of the epidemic in July 2003, SARS had infected over 8,000 people with 774 deaths.
SARS may be suspected in a patient who has:
Any of the symptoms, including a fever of 38 Â°C (100.4 Â°F) or higher, and
Either a history of:
--- Contact (sexual or casual) with someone with a diagnosis of SARS within the last 10 days OR
Travel to any of the regions identified by the WHO as areas with recent local transmission of SARS (affected regions as of 10 May 2003 were parts of China, Hong Kong, Singapore and the province of Ontario, Canada).
A probable case of SARS has the above findings plus positive chest X-ray findings of atypical pneumonia or respiratory distress syndrome.
A chest x-ray showing increased opacity in both lungs, indicative of pneumonia, in a patient with SARS
Â· the requirement of suspected persons of infectious diseases to be brought to designated treatment centres, and their prohibition from going to public places;
Â· the designation of contaminated areas and the restriction of access to them, and the destruction of suspected sources of infection;
Â· the introduction of the power to tag offenders who break home quarantine (persons who failed to be contacted three times by phone consecutively) with electronic wrist tags, and the imposition of fines without court trial;
Â· the ability to charge repeated offenders in court which may lead to imprisonment;
Â· the prosecution of anyone caught lying to health officials about their travel to SARS-affected areas or contacts with SARS patients.
SARS seems to spread mainly by close person-to-person contact. When an infected person coughs or sneezes, they send droplets of mucus or saliva that contain the virus through the air. You could get SARS if the droplets land on your mouth, nose or eyes. Kissing, touching, sharing utensils for eating and drinking, or talking with an infected person can also put you at risk.
There are some measures to avoid Sars in our daily life:
(1). Keep the air in houses fresh and clear. Everyday open the windows for about half an hour to reduce the possibility of infection through the dust air.
(2). Avoid going to the public places where are always crowded and full of people. Do not stay there for a long time.
(3). Wash hands and change clothes when come back from outside.
(4). Put on a gauze mask if you have a cold or go to a public place unventilated for a long time.
SARS effect on World Economy, killed many people.
Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) has recently sent a shock wave across East Asia. Now, after nearly 800 deaths worldwide, SARS seems finally to be under control. There are currently fewer than 1,000 probable SARS cases in the world (information show in the chart). Despite the serious emotional distress it has caused, SARS appears to have had limited and temporary economic impacts in the region.
In the form of SARS, Asia is currently enduring its greatest economic challenge since the currency crisis of the late 1990s. In a worst-case scenario, the disease threatens to disrupt production schedules and trade, as well as induce a crisis of confidence that could re-orient international investment patterns. While we are still a long way away from that extreme, even the current manifestation of SARS is causing considerable duress that will likely have persistent effects on the region economies
Such as Toronto, the city outside Asia most affected by SARS spent as much as $277 million to boost hospital staffing and screen visitors. The WHO last week lifted an advisory against non- essential travel to Toronto as the risk abated that the disease could be carried from there to other parts of the world.
Source: World Health Organization.Â